Does a six pack=strong core? + rate ab program

Skip the paragraph if you just want to read/rate/criticize my ab workout plan.

So I’ve decided to try and have a six pack by december, for personal reasons. Anyway I know that there is a difference between a strong core and one that you show off. For example, I have one of the strongest cores(if not the strongest one) on the team. There are a few kids who have “perfect beach bodies” and I can out work them when it comes to ab work any day of the week. So I put together a workout schedule that consists of P90x ab routine, AthLEAN-X ab workouts, Ab workouts suggested by the team strength/conditioning coach, and the ab workout pitchers do each practice. Anyway this is meant for me to get a six pack but I want to make sure that my core gets as strong as it can. Also I’m going on a high fiber, high protein diet because of something I was just diagnosed with but this diet sounds like it can’t do anything but help both my condition and my training. Anyway I’m rambling here’s the program:

-In and out
-seated bicylces(forward and reverse)[25 sec forward and back]
-Seated Crunchy Frog
-Crossed Leg/Wide Leg Sit-Up
-Fifer Scissors(change leg positions every 1.5-2 sec)
-Hip Rock’n’Raise
-Pulse Ups(Heels To the Heavens)
-Roll-Up/V-Up Combo
-Leg Climb(12 reps each leg)
-Mason Twist(50 reps)
-Leg Raises
-Reverse Crunches
-Heel Touches

-Crunches x100
-Cross Body Crunches x100 each side
-Bicycles x150
-Leg Holds 1:00
-Flutter Kicks 1:00
-Leg Holds Apart 1:00
-Legs Apart Flutter Kicks 1:00
-Planks(all sides) 1:00
-Iso Reverse Crunch w/ circle motion(8 reps each direction)
-“ultimate crunch”(until failure)**

(Athlean x six pack routine. Each week has different workouts. I’m starting week 1 this coming Monday.)

*Sunday is used primarily as a day of rest. Filled with an Ice bath, stretching, and just rest in general.

**Ultimate crunch involves holding your legs about six inches off the ground, doing a crunch and as you do that you bring up one knee and then you twist and touch the floor on the opposite side of your knee. It’s hard to explain. Try to picture a workout that combines the mason twist, leg holds, and a standard crunch.

So feel free to rate it and leave any comments if your wondering what a certain exercise is, or if you think this is too much, too little, or the wrong exercises for a “pitcher’s core”. Alright thanks.[/u]

I read about 20% of your program. It is very bad. Even for getting a six-pack.

You get a six pack by having ridiculously low body fat first and foremost, which is not necessarily conducive to throwing harder (it’s arguably worse).

Go for it… if you have NO interest in playing baseball.
Hundreds and hundreds of reps of spinal flexion…. wouldn’t recommend this to anybody let alone an athlete. Sorry- just honest feedback.

Kyle, close to 100% of your posts that I’ve read so far I’ve agreed with. However, I have my doubts on this post. This one was not very helpful to the OP and lacking the evidence you usually provide. Would you rather have a 180lb pitcher with a high bf% or a 165lb pitcher with a much lower bf% at the same height? From what you see in MLB, there are few starting pitchers who have a high bf%, instead you see a lot of relatively fit pitchers. It might be better for the OP to bulk, but he hasn’t given enough information to determine that. He is going to burn calories, but if he is eating enough it really won’t matter. I’ll take the pitcher who looks like they are in good shape over the pitcher who looks like they just walked out of a bowling alley 9/10. Stephen Strasburg coming out of HS, relatively fat. Cut it down, and afterwards he began gaining velo. Again kyle, I have lots of respect for you and the tremendous amount of date you’ve compiled.

Wouldn’t say a six pack equates to a strong core. It is mostly due to a low bf% like kyle said. You don’t need that many excercises to strenghten the core, id take 4 or 5 and do them for 20 - 30 seconds with no rest in between. I like to target the obliques primarily. But all the excercises you are doing I would say is overkill.

Alright thank you for the feedback I just have some questions/statements. I understand that you need to have low body fat currently I’m at 13%(I know not great) and the team starts hitting the weightroom this coming week. So it’s not like I won’t be burning calories and bulking up, but I didn’t really mention that in the original post so I can’t really blame anyone except myself for that. Anyway @kyle why exactly is a six pack (arguably) worse when it comes to pitching(sorry if I read that wrong). @AccelerateGuy thank you for your honesty but is this bad because I’m combining the workouts, do you think these are just over doing it, or are these workouts just bad? Because the first part is from P90x…granted it is made by a company called BEACH BODY so I guess that doesn’t mean it’ll give me a performance boost just a good look(apparently). When it comes to the second part that is what pitchers do at practice. Now I don’t want to start an arguement, but the reason I’m having a hard time believing what you wrote is because this isn’t even the full routine and upper class men have been doing this for years with no problem. One of our graduates was the most wining(est?) pitcher in conference history and he followed this part of the program. Now I’m not saying that this made him throw as well as he did I’m just saying it didn’t really hurt him as bad as you said it would. Also, the pitching coach who started this pitched with “and would have got drafted with________ if it wasn’t for tommy john.” The head coaches words not mine, and the reason I put ____ is because I can’t remember the major leaguer off the top of my head.@D3Pitching I see that it’s alot, and you have to realize that when I put this together it was based off of three programs I trusted and just put them together. Each one said to do abs about 6 outta 7 days so I just added them together, but cutting down couldn’t hurt.

Alright so thank you for the feedback so far, people who have posted if you could answer the questions above that would be great, and any other users feel free to add.

Correlation is not causation. Strasburg was fat, then he wasn’t. He threw 88, now he throws 100. You think the fact that he lost fat was the reason? This is terrible logic.

Strasburg throws hard because he was lazy in HS and become not-lazy in college. He lifted, threw, and trained very hard. Body fat went down as a result of this, but it was not the primary driver.

I highly doubt you have 13% body fat if you think that’s bad. I just read a Gene Coleman (former NYY and Astros trainer) book who has a bodyfat chart that underestimates BF% by at least 8% per height/weight/waist category. Here’s how you can figure out your BF%: Use calipers or whatever method you think is reliable, then add at least 5%. NBA players do not carry around 4% body fat. No pro baseball players are around 7% for any length of time. Read for more real information on essential/subcutaneous fat information.

Recovery isn’t a pitcher of water you can pour into your body. If you spend a ton of time doing useless six-pack work, that not only takes time away from you focusing on things that actually matter, but it also adds fatigue to your body that could be better spent on more effective training methods. You don’t get to just do an infinite amount of work regardless of how much time you have; your body needs to recover from stress. And stressing the trunk with high-rep hypertrophy-based programs (with a lot of spinal shear, I mid add) isn’t a great way to do it.

Amateur pitchers should first and foremost become big enough while gaining as little fat as possible. If you are 6’1", you should be at least 200 pounds. Look up what LankyLefty looks like at 6’2" 220 lbs - very lean, probably around 12% TRUE body fat (which is quite good for an athlete).

Bulk up to the size you need to be first, then lean down. It doesn’t work very well in reverse.

I really don’t think you need to be that big (6’ 1 200 pounds) to be a good pitcher. Chapman is 6’4 179 pounds and he throws 100 mph daily.

I’m in complete agreement with KyleB on this one. Here is the thing, ab workouts, primarily crunches, put a lot of stress on the lumbar spine into spinal flexion, which is something we constantly live in. Furthermore, 6-packs are simply another beach body accessory, not conducive to throwing hard off of a mound or being successful in any way shape or form. Ultimately what truly will make you throw harder and more accurately are exercises that truly use core strength. Squats are a great example of an exercise that can be used to create core strength.

I have been at 7.2% BF before, I was tested using a $2,000 scale at a health fair that my college put on and I can tell you than even then, I did not have a six-pack. 7-9% BF according to Gene Coleman in his book 52-week baseball training is what an outfielder should be at, where most pitchers lie at 11-13% BF. Simply aiming for a lower BF will not make you throw harder. In fact, Eric Cressey gives a very compelling argument that the cause for inconsistent velocity is weight. Someone who fluctuates their weight usually will see velocity change from one day to the next. I saw it happen this summer to me. I lost 20 lbs and went from throwing 82-84 mph and dropped down to 78-80 on a good day.

Your goal should be to gain weight. My goal personally is to be at 210 lbs by Christmas, I think that putting on some weight, in muscle mass, would be a great idea for you. Also, look at Lefty, that is a great example of a true athlete at a good BF%, all done with proper lifting, not ab workouts.

@kyle the reason I thought 13% was bad was because I saw stats(can’t remember where, sorry) that said the average body fat% for MLB players was 7-10%(all positions)or something to that effect. Also, when the coach at my college took our body fat most players were getting 9’s-13’s my numbers were 12(chest), 12(waist), 15(leg). I honestly have no idea how that little machine of his works(it sort of pinched whatever area he was measuring), what the numbers meant, or how to calculate them. But I figured if I added them up and took the average that would be my bf%, and I ended up with 13%. I, just recently, tried an online body fat calculator, and it asked for my weight(187 lbs) and the length around my waist(33 inches) and it came to 13%. So since both tests came to 13% I figured that’s about right.

Also when it comes to over working that’s something I hadn’t considered. Like I understand that you can over work other parts of your body, which is why you don’t work your back two days in a row, but I was also told your abs were the exception. So I figured I could work them as much as I wanted, but I didn’t really account for the stress on my body in general(if you couldn’t already tell I’m not exactly an expert at working out haha).

Interesting quote. How many other 6’4" 196 (not 179) pitchers do you know throwing 100 MPH?

“Correlation is not causation”. Correct, but you can’t deny the fact that he lost 30lbs had something to do with an increase in velocity. The story goes, Gwynn made Strasburg run one 100 yard dash and it looked like he was about to lose it. So here you already have an out of shape Stephen Strasburg pitching with a high bf%. Why would they want him to slim down, why make him lose 30lb his freshmen year? If a higher bf% is benificial for pitching than what’d be the point of wanting him to lose weight. You can throw someone in the weight room and have them continue to eat like they normally do and long toss but they still wont lose bf. There was a clear reason for Gwynn and his staff wanting him to slim down. I think a bit of bf is good for you, i’d say around 11%-18% is right where you want to be. And saying six packs don’t show unless you have an extremely low bf% is false as it will beging tgo show at 12-14% for some men. And Aroldis Chapman’s weight is listed differently all over the web. If you go to the Cinci Red’s roster you’ll find a 6’4 195lb listing. However you’ll find different sources saying anywhere between 175-185.

What he did to lose 30 pounds is what helped him throw harder. If he magically lost 30 pounds of fat through liposuction with no recovery time, nothing would have changed. (far more likely he would do worse in this scenario)

This is a multivariate question and you are acting like you can single out one thing and make a statement about it. You can’t.

Good topic. As others have said there is a big difference between working out for general conditioning and doing a sports specific workout. A kid on my sons team spent his summer working out with the football team (endless bench and curls I suspect) and worked at a tire warehouse loading tires a few hours a day. Needless to say this kid is huge now, I didnt even recognize him when I saw him. I watched him pitch a few innnings a couple weeks ago with a travel team and he was throwing little rainbows off the mound, probably in the 60’s. When he is playing in the outfield he can gun the ball in fine. The point? Working out to “get into shape” or “get ripped” or whatever else doesnt automatically translate to the field, and, no matter what shape you are in there is a difference between throwing and pitching. Anyone can add weight by hitting the Taco Bell drive through 3 times a day and drinking a gallon of milk. I would think the desire would be to add healthy weight while remaining or even increasing flexability. In the recent SI article about Trevor Bauer had a picture of him with his shirt off…ripped, no…functionally strong? yes.

first off, kyle, I appreciate the comments but you give me too much credit, I’m 6’3" 211 right now, aiming to be 220 by the end of winter break at the same body fat %

to address the original question, let’s look at both the quality of the core workout you posted, its usefulness in actually achieving a six-pack, and the importance of even having a six-pack for pitching

  1. My opinion, we should be training the core for function, first and foremost. This means exercises that tend to have the athlete in standing/kneeling as opposed to seated/prone positions. Exercises that emphasize stability, transferring force, resisting flexion/rotation are superior to doing thousands of high rep spinal flexion exercises that (regardless of whether the stress they place on the spine is dangerous or not) reinforces the bad posture that we should be trying to reverse in the weight room.

This means exercises like medball rotational throws/slam (generating/transferring force), paloff presses (standing/kneeling versions for anti-rotation), plank variations or vertical paloff presses for anti-flexion/anti-rotation.

If you absolutely have to use spinal flexion exercises for the sake of abdominal hypertrophy, it would be a better idea to use fewer reps and higher load. Standing Band Crunches, hanging leg raises, etc.

  1. if we’re looking at getting a six pack, and this agrees with what other have already said, no amount of ab training is going to really improve your abs without a change in body fat % (mostly diet).


You really got to get under 12% to see your abs significantly, and even then it depends a little on where you as an individual store your fat. 6% is shredded to the bone, 8-10% is what most people would consider pretty ripped.

  1. as far as actually having a six pack for pitching…I think it’s clear most mlb pitchers aren’t shredded. Sure, they are athletic, but few of them are concerned with form over function. What is the common theme between guys at both ends of the physique spectrum? Lincecum and Sabathia both have unremarkable physiques, but both have strong, explosive cores that serve their function in the throwing motion. Now, if you want a six-pack for other reasons (and who doesn’t?) that’s fine, just recognize that it’s not of great importance for pitchers to be ripped.

My 15 year old son is 6’1", 185 Lbs. he lifts 3 times a week. Right now he has visible abs and is pretty lean. He is lifting to get stronger and bulk up. He appears to be gaining some muscle and getting stronger but not putting on weight.
Would gaining some weight help him bulk up more or can he do this while staying lean?
What should his target weight be at his height and growing?

[quote=“Turn 22”]Question,
My 15 year old son is 6’1", 185 Lbs. he lifts 3 times a week. Right now he has visible abs and is pretty lean. He is lifting to get stronger and bulk up. He appears to be gaining some muscle and getting stronger but not putting on weight.
Would gaining some weight help him bulk up more or can he do this while staying lean?
What should his target weight be at his height and growing?[/quote]

He’s a good size for his age. I wouldn’t make weight gain the primary focus.

Gotcha. Thanks. I’m sure some weight gain will come naturally with as much as the kid eats.

Gotcha. Thanks. I’m sure some weight gain will come naturally with as much as the kid eats.[/quote]

Exactly. And if he’s pushing around some heavy weight, he’ll build plenty of muscle and bone with that.

Let him eat as much as he wants, but focusing on cramming down food is probably counterproductive at this point since he’s already pretty big.